The Possible issue 02: why do we do what we do?

July 2017

Words by Tom Smith

That’s a vital question for anyone involved in designing and building cities. Even the smallest of our daily decisions can have profound ramifications for the people who will live in the places we create, and the societies that they make up.

So it’s a question that we’ve found ourselves asking again and again in this issue of The Possible. Mark Bessoudo calls for a new type of “wisdom-loving philosopherengineer” who can apply the lessons of moral philosophy to fields such as driverless cars and artificial intelligence, while Gordon Gill challenges architects to think beyond buildings, and their clients to accept a wider interpretation of a brief.

And what are the limits of city density? Just because we can build tall, should we? How do hyper-dense cities affect the social and psychological wellbeing of their inhabitants? As the global population grows, that’s something else we’ll have to consider in much greater detail in the years ahead. Let’s start now.

Tom Smith is global director, property & buildings, at WSP

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